Snowden's leaks caused 'tremendous' damage to US security: House panel

by Garry Watts September 16, 2016, 8:32
Snowden's leaks caused 'tremendous' damage to US security: House panel

The White House has said Edward Snowden, a former Central Intelligence Agency contractor who leaked classified government documents, is not a whistleblower and someone who put at risk the lives of Americans and the national security.

Human Rights groups in NY, alongside Edward Snowden campaigners have launched a push for a pardon by the United States president.The former contractor for the country's National Security Agency faces prosecution for stealing classified documents.

Three leading human rights organization launched a campaign to try and persuade President Barack Obama to pardon National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden of his theft and espionage charges in the U.S. before he leaves office.

The committee on Thursday released a three-page unclassified summary of its two-year investigation into the Snowden case. The report also argued that Snowden was not the whistleblower he portrays himself to be but describes him as a disgruntled worker who did not disclose the classified information to the appropriate law enforcement or oversight personnel.

Ahead of the film's release, activists have launched a new campaign urging President Barack Obama to pardon Snowden, who is now living in Russian Federation to avoid facing criminal charges in the United States. It says that Snowden "failed basic annual training for NSA employees on Section 702" - a controversial part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that allows for the mass collection of information on foreign communications, which Snowden's later disclosures threw into the worldwide spotlight.

In a report endorsed by both its Republican and Democratic leaders, the House intelligence committee said Snowden was "not a whistle-blower" as he has claimed. He said Obama's position is that Snowden's leaks harmed national security and put Americans at risk.

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The White House has not released a response to the campaign, but Obama has condemned Snowden's actions in the past, even after his former top lawyer, Eric Holder, acknowledged Snowden provided a "public service".

Unless you live in Russian Federation, the real Snowden's adopted home outside of the United States, where he was charged with theft of government property and two counts of violating the 1917 Espionage Act in 2013. "In a more candid moment, the NSA's former deputy director, who was directly involved in the government's investigation, explicitly said he didn't believe Snowden had cooperated with either China or Russian Federation". This, however, would be a false assumption, as Gordon-Levitt recognized that the real Snowden was entirely conscious of the negative backlash that would come as a result of his actions, and so the actor felt it was an important thing to recognize all perspectives on the man while getting into his mindset.

Russia, China, Iran and terrorists could access the information that Snowden released to do ill against the USA, the summary said.

The Committee unanimously voted to endorse the report and all members signed a letter to President Obama urging him not to pardon Snowden.

However, White House press secretary Josh Earnest dismissed pressure for a pardon on Wednesday, saying Snowden would enjoy legal due process at a trial in the United States, where he faces up to 30 years in prison for espionage and theft of state secrets.

The report also coincides with Friday's scheduled debut of the Oliver Stone film, "Snowden".

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